Saturday, September 12th
UFC Fight Night: Waterson vs. Hill
UFC APEX – Las Vegas, Nevada
Strawweight mainstays meet in the main event this weekend as Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill aim to get back to winning ways. Who will come out on top?
Michelle Waterson (17-8) is the former Invicta FC atomweight champion and has been a UFC strawweight since 2015, amassing a 5-4 record. In her time with the promotion her first three fights were all finished by submission due to rear-naked choke, of which she won two, and the remaining six have all gone to the judges, who have named her the victor on three occasions.
“The Karate Hottie” has faced three former UFC strawweight champions, losing to Rose Namajunas by second round submission in April 2017 (Namajunas claimed gold in her next bout) and to Joanna Jędrzejczyk by unanimous decision after five rounds last October. Waterson is now looking to avoid three defeats in a row for the first time in her career after she found herself on the wrong end of a split decision call in her last bout, against former champion Carla Esparza at UFC 249.
Waterson’s background is in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, and Muay Thai, and despite her striking skills she may opt to try to take Hill to the ground because she has a much stronger ground game than her opponent. A win this weekend would allow Waterson to look up the rankings for her next opponent rather than defending her position against a lower ranked fighter.
Angela Hill (12-8) is another former Invicta FC champion, in the strawweight division – a title she won between her two UFC stints. Hill was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter series 20 having had just one professional bout, and made her debut UFC appearance in the finale of the series, increasing her overall record to 2-0.
However, Hill lost her next two fights, including one by submission to Rose Namajunas in round two of their UFC 192 meeting, and was subsequently dropped by the promotion. Throughout 2016, Hill fought in Invicta FC and won her title, gaining a recall to the UFC where she has competed since 2017 and in which she has a 7-8 record.
“Overkill” fought Jéssica Andrade on her return, losing the Fight of the Night by unanimous decision 30-27 on all scorecards in February 2017. More recently, Hill had won three fights in a row before losing her last fight against Cláudia Gadelha by split decision in May so will be looking to immediately return to winning ways against a higher ranked adversary.
Hill will be competing in her fourth fight of 2020 this weekend and will further her record as the fighter with most UFC strawweight appearances as she has her 16th bout in the division. She has never won by submission and never lost by knockout so, with a background in kickboxing and Muay Thai, I expect her to try and keep the fight standing and try to dictate the pace there, looking for openings as an orthodox fighter facing a southpaw.
There will be no issues for Hill if the fight goes the distance – although she has only fought more than three rounds in Invicta FC she has claimed five of her seven UFC wins by decision and six of her eight UFC losses have also come via the judges. A win would instantly get Hill back on track in the division, in all probability moving her into the top ten and gaining her a fight with another high profile opponent next time out.
Prediction: Waterson by decision.
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